There are a number of sites that aggregate London neighbourhood data into searchable maps. But make no mistake: Getting familiar with the areas, schools, rent prices, will all take time. (If you are thinking of SW London and want some help, get in touch with me via About).
Use FindProperly to confirm that the areas you were thinking of are suitable – first, set the maximum travel time for your commute. [However, for our current home, this site isn’t sufficiently generous – it’s added 10 min to actual travel time. Maybe because walking in central London, rather than going through the rabbit warren tube system, is not included as an option.] Then filter out available properties, setting criteria for crime rate and proximity to park. You can also filter by preferred neighbours (students, young professionals, families, or retired people) – well, this gives you a vague indication, but I wouldn’t base my final decision on this.
Use Rightmove once you have a few target areas to add the ‘schools’ criterium. Rightmove lets you include the schools in your search: Enter the area you want to search in. Then click on one of the properties that come up. Go to the “Map & Schools” tab, and select the primary or secondary school boxes at the top. All state-funded schools, and some private (independent) schools will appear on the map as blue or yellow dots. On mouse over, you’ll get the basics on the school, and links to click through to reports and test results. [We found our first London home using this website – the relocation agent had assured us that rightmove was often out of date, but that was not my experience at the time.]
– I recently came across another interesting site: Rentonomy.com. I like what it’s trying to do. But it’s not quite there yet. For newbies to London, the information on their interactive map can be confusing – e.g., Richmond Park in the SW has ‘no transport’. You’d immediately eliminate this area from your search going on that information! In fact, the train line from Richmond Station (which Rentonomy allocates to Kew) speeds super-fast into Waterloo Station. The map of average rent prices is quite helpful. Very interesting also the ‘Largest Non-UK Nationality’ section under the People tab. Some fun blog posts – I’m a map and data nerd, so of course I love their many data maps. In summary, I’m not sure how much this site would have helped me find a home at this point…will keep checking back, they’re on a good track.